Sequel baiting is a method used in a work to suggest that there is a possibility for another story. The original work still has closure, but the writer has made writing a sequel easier by leaving minor plot elements unresolved. This method is so common the audience will identify any unresolved plot element as a hook.
This method is quite common within a variety of media, including good, decent, mediocre, and even bad ones.
Why This Method Sucks
- It interrupts the flow and pacing of the movie just to set up future installments, whether they are sequels, crossovers, or even entire shared universes.
- Speaking of which, they focus so much on planning to make their own cinematic universes similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe by trying to rush it instead of telling a story that is worth telling before you can tell something bigger.
- Sometimes, they shoehorn in characters that only serve to tease sequels, when they have nothing to do with the overall plot of the film.
- Some scenes with sequel-baiting have pointless fan service that does nothing to progress the overall plot of the movie (e.g. Darth Maul igniting his lightsaber in front of Qi'ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story).
- Some of the set-ups for future plot points (unless it's a teaser for a future installment at the ending of a film) also show that the writers are lazy, as they added in plot threads that were left completely unresolved without any sort of payoff intentionally, and instead those threads were supposed to be filled in future installments. What makes this even worse is that they are not likely to be resolved in said future installments (e.g. Star Wars: The Last Jedi ignored plot points that were set up in The Force Awakens).
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has multiple plot threads that were left completely unresolved without any sort of payoff intentionally, and instead those threads were supposed to be filled in future sequels. For example, the movie literally pauses to have Wonder Woman watch teaser videos for Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens is another example of this, as much of the film's content is useless setups for plot points in future installments, ranging from Rey's parentage to the Knights of Ren seen in a vision at one point in the film. The sequel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, has almost zero payoff for any of the plot points that were set up in the previous film, resulting in backlash and criticism.
- GMW ends with the Duplo aliens arriving at Bricksburg. This is eventually addressed in the sequel, GMW. Because this sequel hook takes place at the end of the film, it doesn't really interrupt the film.
- The GMW is known for doing this, as their films (excluding GMW) have post-credits scenes that tease future movies and encourage viewers to stay and watch the credits and allow for foreshadowings and set ups to take place without interrupting the movie itself.
- Speaking of the MCU, GMW has a scene where Thor has a vision of the Infinity Stones, which was very intrusive because it had nothing to do with the plot and only served to tease GMW.
- Avengers: Infinity War ends with Thanos decimating half of all life in the universe, including heroes such as Spider-Man, which is supposed to set up the sequel, Avengers: Endgame.
- Another example is at the end of GMW, where the Tank Gang escape from the dentist's office as the film ends with Bloat asking, "Now what?", which is supposed to set up a sequel (which would eventually become GMW). Again, it doesn't interrupt the movie due to being the last scene in the film.
- The 2019 reboot of GMW ends with two scenes: one simply revealing Abe Sapien at the last second, and the other having Baba Yaga plotting to kill Hellboy.
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 focuses more on setting up Sony's then-planned Spider-Man cinematic universe instead of being a movie, a common mistake by studios trying to make their own cinematic universes similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. An example of this is the character Rhino, whose sole purpose was to set up a then-planned Sinister Six film.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story has a scene where the character Qi'ra talks to a mysterious figure, who then reveals himself as a cybernetically-enhanced Darth Maul, which is supposed to set up not only the upcoming Disney+ spin-off series focusing on Obi-Wan Kenobi between GMW and GMW, but also a potential sequel for this film.
- The end of A.X.L. is another example of this, as when Miles gets the pairing key from A.X.L, he tries it out, and apparently A.X.L. is somewhat getting rebuilt from his explosion, and afterwards, the end credits play.
- GMW indicated Liz telling Hellboy that she plans to have two kids, setting up the then-planned Hellboy III, but was cancelled due to executive meddling, which led to Guillmero Del Toro and Ron Perlman disgusted and leaving production, which led to the critically-panned reboot.
- The Bye Bye Man had a survivor telling a police officer about the Bye Bye Man, setting up another sequel.
- GMW indicated Miles Morales getting contact from Gwen calling for help. As a matter of fact, a sequel was confirmed.
- Super Mario Bros. ends on a shameless cliffhanger when Princess Daisy asks the Mario brothers for help, implying that a sequel could happen, and it's never revealed what. A sequel was made in the form of a comic book, however.
- The 2017 reboot of The Mummy franchise was intended to be the first installment in a cancelled Dark Universe franchise compromised of Universal Studio's classic monsters. The film focuses more on setting up the Dark Universe than on being a movie of its own by shoving in pointless side characters such as Dr. Jekyll that exist only to tease sequels. Not only that, the movie obnoxiously flashes the Dark Universe logo despite it being the first (and only) movie in the franchise with nothing properly setup. By comparison, movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn't start showing the MCU-stylized Marvel logo until the franchise was properly established years after it began.
- The final scene of GMW has the Underminer rising from the ground as the Parr family puts on their superhero masks, preparing to face the new threat together as a family. The sequel, GMW, continues right from where the first film ended.
- The ending for GMW has the main characters (Liu Kang, Raiden, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade) celebrating their victory over Shang Tsung, before Shao Kahn appears to them in the sky, causing the main characters to strike a Kombat stance in preparation for fighting Shao Kahn, setting up the events for Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
- Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday ends with Jason Voorhees’s mask being pulled into the ground by none other than Freddy Krueger’s glove. This was supposed to set up a crossover movie between the two slashers, which was eventually released ten years after.
- The Nut Job has a mid-credits scene in which Raccoon and Cardinal are coming up with another plan while surrounded by sharks, which is supposed to set up the sequel, only except Raccoon isn't the villain, but rather the mayor.
- The 1998 remake of Godzilla has a scene where the only surviving egg in the ruins of Madison Square Garden hatches as the baby Zilla roars just after the New York citizens celebrate over Zilla's demise. But due to the film's negative reception, it never had a sequel, although there was Godzilla: The Series, which continued the story and was well-received due to it being more faithful to the Toho films.
- The ending of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tries to make a big deal out of Quatermain's death, setting it up as a "passing the torch" moment to the younger members of the League, only to then have a blatantly sequel-baiting ending that shows his implied resurrection.
- GMW has a scene in the middle of the movie where the character Yogurt says "God willing, we'll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money." A potential sequel was discussed by Rick Moranis and Mel Brooks, though they were unable to make a deal that would allow the project to continue. An animated series was made, and it barely had anything to do with the film itself, was cheaply-made and generally considered horrible.
- Transformers: The Last Knight has a sequel-baiting ending in which Quintessa appears in human form and offers some scientists that have discovered one of Unicron's horns a method of killing Unicron.
- The very last scene of GMW has a reveal that Po's biological father and other pandas have survived the genocide caused by Lord Shen and are now living in a hidden village, as he is now suddenly aware that his son is alive, setting up GMW.